Q for You: How do you sort your stash?

Q for You: How do you sort your stash?

I’m on my way to the yarn trade show in San Diego today (it’s a safe bet there will be Instagrams), but am leaving you with a Q and will be reading your responses at every opportunity. This Q came from Colleen in the comments recently, and it’s one of those where I’m sure people will have not only different opinions but delightfully idiosyncratic logic. Which I love. The question is: Do you sort your stash by weight or color?

The question assumes you have more yarn than will fit in a single allotted container. Mine is kept in 4 see-through plastic bins on a shelf in my laundry closet, and it is divided by weight. The first bin is my paltry stash of lace and fingering weight yarns along with some sport weight. Next is DK and lighter worsteds. Then heavier worsted and aran. Then last is the bulky and superbulky bin. Honestly, there’s more color in there than you might imagine. (Yellows and oranges and even some hot pink, oh my!) But when I go looking for yarn it’s because I want to knit a specific thing, which is defined by the idea or the pattern, not by the color. In other words, I don’t go looking for green or camel; I go looking for worsted or bulky. If the starting point is a specific yarn rather than a pattern, I presumably know what the weight of that yarn is, and thus where to find it.

(Unless it’s in my alternate special stash, where I keep sweater quantities and things yarn companies have sent me, which is all different weights and colors sharing a shelf. “It’ll be anarchy: cats and dogs living together.”)

So let’s hear it: Do you sort your stash and, if so, is it by weight, color, company, fiber, or what?

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SHOP NOTE: The black scissors, natural baskets, a few patterned baskets and the large slate Bento Bag are all back in stock!

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86 thoughts on “Q for You: How do you sort your stash?

  1. By weight and by colour. I like certain colours and I know what I will use so I tend to have a restricted palette, in this way I know no wool will be wasted. I don’t follow trends, I’m quite classic in my choices, in my local wool shop they say: oh what a surprise you are buying cream (or black, or grey) today….again! ” I keep it in various baskets where I add lavender sachets.

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  2. I just resorted and it is by what is a full skein and what is used skein. I would like to do by weight but most of my stuff is worsted so that won’t help much.

    My stash started with a local yarn shop that went out of business and now I wish I had not purchased that much. My tastes in yarn have changed and I can’t see myself making the sweater I thought I would out of the quality of yarn purchased. Also, what do you do with colors that you don’t normally knit with? For example, I have a lovely baby blue Berroco Vintage yarn but I don’t wear baby blue and my friends don’t either. Is it too girly for a man’s scarf? I also have some yarn that I have tried but just don’t like. What do I do with that? All these questions!

    I also have figured out that you will wind up with enough of a stash just with the left over yarn from projects. That will make some interesting shawl or something one day with a lot of good memories.

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    • Hi Jennifer, are you a (free) member of Ravelry? You can post that now, undesireable Berocco Vintage, baby blue yarn ‘for sale,’ and chances are you will move it to another knitter who is looking for that bargain…

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    • You could also over-dye the yarn to a darker color, if you like the fiber & weight. Dye either before knitting or after, although the former is a safer bet if you have limited experience with dyeing.

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  3. I sort by quantities, “specialness” and color. My good stuff goes in a glass fronted cabinet in my bedroom where I arrange it by color so it looks pretty. I have sweater-quantity yarns on a shelf in my closet, and then specific yarns (malabrigo and other soft yarns, Shetland yarns, workhorse worsteds [cascade 220 mostly]) in baskets in the closet.

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  4. Because of my (ahem) generous stash, I found that the best way to store it is by colour (I store them in giant ziplock bags piled up precariously in an overstuffed closet, the only space in the house I have for my yarn). If I stored it by weight, I’d have bags and bags of each weight and would have to wade through all of them to find the yarn I want. I find it’s easier to pull out the specific colour instead. Note that I don’t just have “blue” or “grey” or “cream” bags. I have “pale blue”, “medium blue” “teal blue” “navy blue” bags and so on. I do have to reference my Ravelry stash to remember what I have in each weight though. It’s not the best of systems, but it works for me.

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  5. Like aubree, I sort partly by my self-determined value of the yarn (which is often correlated with price and distance traveled to acquire the yarn), and then partly by the amount of the yarn that I have. I do not keep it all in one room either. If I buy enough for a sweater, I pack it away in my closet in a very utilitarian container. If I have an idea of what I want to make, I keep it in my bedroom in a stylish container on a shelf. If I do not know what I want to make, I keep it in clear bins or baskets in my craft area where I can keep an eye on it while I create and dream up ideas. I did not realize it until now, but I actually have both high and low valued yarns in all three spaces. In another craft, I have started to sort my fabric stash more uniformly: in one style of container, in one space, and by color and I have found a renewed kind of inspiration from the change. I wonder if my yarn will end up that way someday? It could get all “High Fidelity” record collection up in here.

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  6. I organize by project. I do not allow myself to buy yarn that doesn’t have a purpose. When I get home I sort it into a bag with the pattern and notions and it sits there and waits to be knitted. At least that way I can quickly grab a project and knit away because everything is already there.

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  7. I have pared down my stash and now have two separate bins. Yarns I love and yarns I not so love. Basically, it has to do with the color and value of the yarns. When I knit, I like to start with the yarn and find an appropriate pattern for that yarn.

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  8. My stash isn’t so huge that I can’t fit it into one bin (it’s a fabric, zip top thing. Can’t say how big it is but about the size of a banker’s box. I put everything into ziploc bags within the fabric bin. Much is remnants I haven’t figured out what to do with (which occasionally I give away). The bigger lots are stored individually (6 skeins here, 3 skeins there). Most of my stash is fingering or sport so it doesn’t take up too much space. But when I can’t smush anything else into that container, I stop buying yarn till I’ve knit up enough to make more space. Because I have all of my yarn categorized in the stash section on Ravelry, I always know exactly how much yarn I have in the stash. It’s easy to locate and I don’t even have to go through the bin until I’ve chosen a project.

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  9. Good question! Most of my stash is kept in my spare bedroom which houses most of my craft stuff. (Sewing maching, knitting books and magazines, etc.) I also have sweater amounts sorted separately. These are when I buy for a project that I think I will make for myself, but never get to. These are kept in an extra large tote that I bought from “31,” which sells all kinds of organizing bags and containers. (I had several friends who were selling them recently.) I also have one of those sweater/clothes organizer things that you hang from two hooks in the closet. That has yarns sorted by colors, some of which are sweater amounts. I have one of those “over the door” plastic shoe organizer things on the closet door with skeins of yarn sorted by color. These are nice fiber skeins. I have a plastic bin in that closet with my cotton yarns and another plastic bin with remnants in it. I have another bin with large/chunky skeins for when I want to do a quick cowl or something, which I have been doing a lot of lately, just to get me back into some regular knitting. I have a lot of these chunky yarns downstairs too because I went nuts over the holidays knitting them. I also have a woven basket next to the couch that holds whatever current “main project” I am working on. Just looking at the post above where it says she pared down her stash to two bins…believe it or not, this IS pared down! Over the past two years or so, I have given away a lot of my stash to knitter friends, and I just brought a bunch of remnants to my classroom because I am having my seniors make “blankets” for our local animal shelter. I can see that I have more paring down to do…as well as developing a better system!

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      • When I say seniors, I mean high school seniors. Is that what you thought I meant? :) We wanted to do a community service type of project, so I offered this as a suggestion. They jumped on it. I was sort of surprised. The one who is getting into it the most is the one I thought would hate it the most!

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        • I’m not using a pattern for the blankets. I’m just having them knit or crochet squares, and I will join them to make the blankets. Three of the students – girls – know how to knit. The rest are boys, and I thought teaching them how to single crochet would be easiest. :)

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  10. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to store my stash in my Brooklyn apartment. I have 2 rubbermaid storage boxes and two cardboard boxes. Then everything else is overflowing around my apartment (sock yarn in a gigantic ziploc on a shelf and assorted sweaters’-worth of yarn under the bed and in the bedroom closet!), it’s crazy.

    I used to sort my stash kind of arbitrarily by which yarns I liked the best. Stuff that I wasn’t so crazy about kind of went in the bottom of one bin and the newer, better stuff went on top. I organized all of it just before Rhinebeck and I listed all of it on Ravelry with a little picture (even low quality). I did it all by weight. It’s so much better that way because when I want to make a pair of socks, I don’t need to open 4 bins to find what I’m looking for. Having everything on Rav is a life changer! Now I have no excuse to not use stash yarns because I don’t even need to go to the closet to see what I already have.

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  11. Color, definitely. I have one of those ikea 4-cubby shelving units that I use for wool, and each cubby has a different range of colors (red-pink-orange, yellow-green, blue-purple, grey-black-white). I just think it looks nicer that way, and I pretty much know what weight the various colors are. I also color-organize my books, which either delights or horrifies people who visit the house. :-)

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  12. By weight, sweater quantity, and fiber content. I have a sock/lace yarn shelf, a sweater quantity shelf, a luxury yarns shelf, a plant fibers and rustic yarns shelf, and then a shelf where all my odd balls from the companies I work with frequently live. Within that, everything’s bagged up by color. I also have a vintage chicken-carrying crate where all my “in the queue” yarns go, for projects lined up.

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  13. I try for the most par,t to sort mine by fiber. It isn’t a huge stash and once upon a time I didn’t have the money or the know-how to have much, if any, wool so I have a fair amount of left over acrylics and other random synthetic fibers. As I add more and more hand spun wool that I make, my wool stash is happily growing.

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  14. I am still in that lucky position where all of my yarn *just* fits in one container all together. This is probably due to space limitations…living at home with my parents keeps the entirety of my belongings limited to one room! I think I would favour organised by weight though, but by colour just looks so pretty!

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  15. I always have a project in mind when I buy yarn and I keep all my upcoming projects in a basket in the living room. My stash is mostly leftover extra skeins and balls from things I have already made. I sort those by brand and seal them in large ziploc bags. I store them in my craft closet out of sight. :)

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  16. By Type, then by weight, I guess. Exotics all together, acrylics, then fingering, bulky, etc. Not by color at all. The interesting thing is that I have a very small stash (in a very small house) and I keep trying to get all my fiber craft things into one room. Hasn’t worked yet! LOLOL Fiber in one spot – books in another, patterns and tools in another! ~~~sigh~~~~

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  17. Random stash is in see-through plastic bins and sorted by weight. I try not to accumulate a lot of extra yarn, buying what I need and want for specific projects. But my LYS is going out of business and some beautiful yarns were 30 and 40% off, which means I now have larger amounts of new yarn with no plan. This is currently sitting out in the open in a basket so I can eyeball it while I ravel.

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  18. My stash is insanely large with yarn collected over many years. I have probably a 10 17 gallon ikea tubs filled with it. Anyway I sort by brand and weight. For example I have a tub with nothing but noro. My sock yarns are sorted together with solids separated from variegated. If I bought the yarn for a particular project it stays together. Cottons are separated from wools. You get the drift. My hand spun gets stored in baskets because it’s pretty. Everything but the handspun is stored in my office closet.

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  19. Big question for me – can’t wait to read everyone’s responses. I, too, have my yarns in clear plastic bins by weight in a closet. But when I began using more superwash for shop items, so I separated those yarns out. Whatever beauties are calling to me at the moment (color-wise) end up in baskets around my chair. Because of my out-of-sight, out-of-mind thing, ever so often I go through my bins and refresh my memory. Also, I’ve become quite rigorous about sending on to the thrift store yarns I find I keep passing over for whatever reason. I tell my dragon-ish treasure hoarder self that someone out there would love to have that yarn – get rid of it, already.

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  20. Oh man, I don’t even sort my stash that well! I have one bin for all my wool, and my goal is to have one bin for all my acrylic. However, the acrylic has been taking over of late, and so it’s sort of stashed all over the place! I knit pretty strictly with worsted weight yarns though, so in either bin you’d be hard pressed to find something else.

    (note: I know folks balk at acrylic left and right, but as a charity knitter, acrylic is requested more often than wool where I live. so acrylic it is! and there’s some really good options nowadays.)

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  21. Fun to see my name and question, and all these great ideas to ponder! I am the opposite of stitchesandwines and Anne: too much yarn purchased over too many years, and I’ve always been a sucker for the sale basket, so have lots of odd skeins. I have always sorted by color in plastic bins, but have been rethinking this. Whenever I have a particular pattern in mind, I end up going through all the bins to find the right weight (and often get sidetracked). I also have big gallon jars where I have all my little balls left over from previous projects, also by color, and a ceramic bowl with other teensy balls. This is just whimsy, though I do sometimes use these bits (like for stripes, little gift bags, or a provisional cast-on). I am currently on a yarn moratorium, haven’t purchased yarn in 13 months now, and I’m going to keep it up. Less to sort! (but don’t ask me about the fleeces and rovings under my bed)

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    • …haven’t purchased in 13 monrhs… LOL !! Does the ”under the bed’ comment apply to the “not purchased” statement ?? Regardless of the answer, thanks for the chuckle ;-) cbb

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  22. Great ideas from everyone – I REALLY need to sort my stash. Right now I have LOTS of stash in the ZipLock flexible zip totes. Like another commenter, my taste in yarn has evolved as well as what I want to knit so the tips for sorting are right on time – thank you all!

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  23. Weight? Brilliant! I’ve been sorting my yarn by amount-left-in-skein, because my unused yarn stash is pretty small (I do most of my buying, if I can help it, for particular projects). So I have a bin of scraps that I hope someday to use, or use as edging for something, and then a lot of ziploc bags or Baggus full of a couple of half-skeins. It’s more chaos than assistance. This is all to say that the idea of sorting by weight has blown my mind and I intend to do so the same myself post-haste.

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  24. I just organized my stash and I have a few more steps to go before it is well organized but it was a mess before I tackled it. I wound all my skeins into cakes and then bagged them in gallon ziplock bags based on weight and wool vs. acrylic. I have my hand spun all packaged together. Then the bags are piled into clear bins. The first time I organized I just put the cakes into the bin and found that when I went looking for a specific yarn, the others started to unwind and I ended up with a big mess. This time they are in bags, so I can grab the size and quality I want and then pull out the specific cake without messing the whole bin up. I have a more in-depth post about this coming soon to my blog! Love reading all these comments!! Warmly, Elizabeth

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  25. Again Karen, you are a life-saver, perfect timing!! The room has been cleared, the beautiful cabinet installed, and now a cohesive plan for ‘sorting the (former) mess.’ Besides the ‘bagged projects; complete with pattern,’ and the preliminary ‘fiber type’ of linens, cottons, then wool, here in the sunbelt … I am gonna opt for the ‘weight’ method.

    I agree that a pattern, or project, will call for a certain weight yarn, so that is where I should stay focused… THEN I can find the color..

    San Diego ! I am swooning……

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  26. I organize by weight, too; as well as by handspun/commercial yarns–I’ve been contemplating yarn storage a lot as I’m planning a studio remodel–I want some sort of practical shelving/rack system that lets me get to the yarn I want without having to rearrange all the bins! Right now, yarn is in plastic bags & bins stacked in a couple closets. I also keep my sweater quantities separate, and sock yarns are divided into variegated and solid(ish) colors.

    On deck/in use yarns live in baskets in my office, or on my desk or work table, or pretty much anywhere–

    And I try to keep my Ravelry stash up to date so I have it as a database/searchable reference of all my yarns.

    I also have spinning fiber organized by prep (locks/fleeces, combed top, batts/other), and handspun yarn organized by weight and sweater quantities.

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  27. I’m amazed at the will power of people with no stash. I . . .ahem. . . am not one of those people. I store by weight except for sweater quantities that I’ve bought which all go in one big box together. I tend to divide the others into large tote bags. For laceweight, I like to wind the skeins into balls and put them all into a large glass jar so I can look at them. Of course, out of sight, out of mind (and hence no self-control when I go to a yarn store or wool show) so I’ve now decided to keep a stash binder. I snip about two inches of each strand of yarn and tape it into my book with written details about how many yards I have, gauge, needle size etc. I try to separate the sheets by weight. Yes, I really do have that much stash! However, I am going cold sheep in 2014 and only knitting with my stash. So far I’ve resisted the 50% off sales at John Lewis and put back that gorgeous bag of deep red Rowan aran tweed. Sigh. I will be strong.

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    • Oh, wow! THAT’S IT: a Stash Binder. I need a tactile and visual reminder to help me keep track of what I have. The Ravelry system sounds lovely but I don’t think it will work for me. At the moment I wrap a piece of yarn around its sleeve and try and keep it with the ball. But they get separated in my rambling through them and I end up guessing. The binder system – I can do that one. Thank you!

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  28. I am a big fan of the container store offerings~I have a small coat closet stacked with the “totes” sizes and several under-the-bed containers. We won’t talk about the fact that I don’t need any more yarn!! I sort by “project amount”~for me, this is 2 of a kind in sock yarn, 3 of a kind in shawl “weight” and 5 or more in sweater “weight”. Beyond that, I have a bin for mohair, “fancies” and projects-for-girls, as now I have 3 of those :) I also have a bin for single skeins~this way I can dive in there for a quick hat, baby quantity or other quick knit project. I also love this bin for pom poms!
    Color doesn’t really get a say in my stash but I’m so much the neutrals gal that it wouldn’t do much good anyway. The projects for girls bin shows up with a lot of pink, white and blue, however!

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    • Yes, I got the idea from shade cards, but I also like to record notes on some of my projects in case I want to knit them again, and also notes on the wool and how it knits up. I do love ravelry for many things, but can’t be bothered entering my stash in (ahem, it would take too long!) But also, I like tactile things that don’t need wifi to use. I have a small binder and use brown craft paper pages (available from Paperchase if you live in the UK) and it looks a bit old-fashioned, which I like.

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  29. I generally only buy yarn for specific projects, so that gets sorted by project. The only real stash I have is for soft toy making , so it’s all the same weight (more or less) and so I sort it by colour as that’s what i’m really looking for. Left-overs are currently tossed about willy-nilly (the stuff that’s good for toy-making just gets filed into that system though), but I generally don’t have too much to worry about. My fabric stash, on the other hand, is a wee bit out of controll right now. . .

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  30. Ha you got me at organised. It’s sorta sorted into yarn weights, then there’s tweeds, mohairs, ribbon etc all in large plastic containers. Then the trunk of special – overflowing at the moment. Then the bookcases and drawers of coned yarn. But I work like this. I just love texture and combining yarn and colour and over dyeing. I’ve always found it de=stressing to just go and feel yarn – pre stash days it was the yarn shop. Now it’s right here. Oh and with left overs I make pompoms.

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  31. At first I sorted by weight; which was useful when knitting. Then my collection amplified once I started weaving. At that point I divided by fiber type, as that was important to my weaving decisions. Now that I handspin, I keep that separate in it’s own bin. One day, I would love to store them out in the open in shelves where I can easily see what I have, but at the moment space is limited and my two cats love yarn. Though, I put a rotation of yarn on display in large glass jars, to help inspire me.

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  32. By weight – although my lace weight bin is overflowing and the bulky/super bulky has one skein. Have to agree with Moira on all points – where’s a “like” icon when I need one?

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  33. I wish I had the self discipline to resist a 70% off sale. I have 18-20 bins (the big 17 gallon variety) that are stacked in the computer room and guest bedroom pending construction of storage cabinets in my yet to be completed studio. I am tired of moving a head high stack of tubs every time I need something. Having one bin to a shelf will make my life easier. Plus having them behind doors will look better and my stash will be less obvious.

    I sort by wool/wool blends vs non-wool. Then by yarn weight. I’m so paranoid when it comes to yarn eating critters, that I have my yarn in zip lock bags which I self-vacuum (body hug it until most of the air is gone, then quickly zip up the last 2″). Works great to minimize the volume and disguise the fact that the 18-20 bins now hold what used to require 24-26 bins! I would store it all in open cubes by type, weight and color if I didn’t fear moths so. I am going through it again and giving away or putting up for sale those yarns I bought early on before I developed a taste for fine merino, silk, baby alpaca etc. This does not include the fleece/roving/top stash or the thrift store clothes being stored for fabric. Sigh, who needs a guest bedroom or dining room!

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  34. I was feeling even more of a knitting newbie because I have no stash. However, I felt better when some of the other commenters said they didn’t have one either. I will probably start developing one as I come to know better what types of yarn are best for which projects. Or when I start knitting sweaters and start accumulating yarn for that purpose. (What is a sweater’s worth of yarn, anyway?) However, my stash will never be big as I hate clutter. It would be sorted by weight, though. That makes the most sense to me.

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    • I have a few different stash systems that co-exist. I have a dresser with four drawers that house most of the stash- the top drawer is for “special” yarn- the handspun malabrigo 100% angora, the purple silk, my own handspun baby alpaca (dreamy). Then I have a few bins, shoebox size, of laceweight and sock weight. I have a drawer of worsteds, organized in the drawer by fiber, and then I have partial balls all over the freakin place. My stash of partial balls of various Madtosh merino light lives in a bag on top the dresser- You can actually get a lot of stripey projects from just 3 skeins. I also have a shelf full of clear bags of yarn that I want to keep my eye on for inspiration purposes.
      I guess it’s not so much organized as that I know where to find things. I aspire to a better system- but I’d rather spend my time knitting :)

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  35. Such a perfect question for the new year!

    I have a big Tupperware bin for a my fingering weight yarn, and my paltry stash of lace weight yarn. Then I have two smaller bins for worsted and DK weight yarn. Within the bins, I use Ziploc bags to sort and organize. I keep sweater amounts or other multiples of the same yarn together, and beyond that I tend to organize by dyer rather than colour. I recently pulled a bunch of fingering weight skeins out that are destined to be socks, so they’re now bagged together so they don’t get lost/separated/forgotten about (again).

    Let us not talk about the WIP basket that also has yarn in it – that yarn is on deck (so to speak) at least in my head.

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  36. I really pared down the stash before I moved cross country. It was hard but much needed. I set up an inventory on Ravelry because I though it would give me an easier go of sorting yarn to potential projects (it has!). Though I’ve been neglectful in updating it with the bit of new yarn I’ve bought since moving.

    In terms of physical storage, I moved to a city where moths and mice and bedbugs (ugh) are a big concern so I went the route of clear file storage boxes – 5 to be exact. They’re sorted by weight with the main categories being sock, lace, bulky, odds+ends, and sweaters worth. Admittedly there is a basket or two holding the odd skein that I like looking at as well as a whole tote bag of projects I have to complete by the end of the year (the new years resolution is to finish one long uncompleted project a month).

    My goal since moving has been to knit and sew through all the current yarn and fabric I brought with me because I am loath to move it all again. It’s kept the stash in check and really made me think long and hard before buying. Giving myself such a stern limit on space means I only buy something if I absolutely love it.

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  37. My yarn is sorted mostly by weight, though I have one bin of acrylic that will make one last granny square blanket and then will finally be gone. Three of these blankets were crocheted and gifted at Christmas from acrylic given to me when my MIL passed away. I prefer wool or wool blends, but couldn’t just toss out or donate worsted weight acrylic. The wool bins are separated by fingering and lace weights in one and worsted weight in another. I don’t have much DK weight, though I would like to see that change over time. I also have crochet and tatting thread from my great grandma that is in small boxes. Sometimes I sort through it to find what I want or need for making a doily from one of her older doily pattern books from 1920s to 1950s. Lastly, there is a partially filled trash bag of novelty yarn that will be donated soon.

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  38. I start sorting by weight, then move on to fiber (my worsted weight wool blends are separate from 100% wool, etc.) Then I further sort by expected project type such as socks, lace, baby stuff and general use. I rarely sort by color and if I bought yarn for a specific project, it goes in a see through project bag by itself. I use see through plastic bins so I know which bin to grab.

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  39. I sort by fiber and weight. I prefer wool or alpaca. I have a bin of synthetics that is all stuff people have given to me (acrylics, furry things etc) that is mostly shared with nieces or others learning to knit etc. My wools are sorted into weight. Lace weight in a storage box; then two boxes of sock yarn (I make a lot of socks!) then DKs together, then boxes of worsted and finally the bulky – but I don’t have much of that. I also have sweater quantities in two worsteds, and each of those are in their own box. And all the alpaca is in it’s own box. And all boxes on shelves in my bedroom. Sorting by color would be interesting if they were on display, or visible. But since I usually go to stash with a particular project in mind, I always know what weight I need, and then pick the color when I see what I have.

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  40. I use the clear bins like many others. My sorting “system”:
    Sock and lace weight
    Sweater quantities/more than 2 skeins
    Farm/small mill yarn
    Handspun *
    Partial skeins
    Hand-dyed (by me, that is)

    * this implies a fiber stash, but that’s an entirely different system ;)

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  41. I’m not very organized…. I have two giant IKEA bags, a medium one, a couple of paper grocery bags and a cardboard file box. it is mostly by type, but one bag is color, because some day I was going to make one of those scarves that has all the different textures in it.

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  42. My stash is not very organized, but I have 2 plastic boxes and 2 baskets. One plastic box is on our basement, in this one I keep the nice, high-quality yarn. (The yarn I’ll want to use when casting on a new project – I used to buy yarn first, then figure out the project, a habit I changed over the years – except for sock yarn) The other box is at my parents house and is filled with yarns I bought but not plan on using very soon. (We live in a small apartment with little storage, I can only keep one box here). It happens that I dive into the box at my parents place and take some home, for a particular project, or just because my box at home is getting emptier. The baskets are for keeping WIP’s in the living room, some skeins I plan on using soon (like my favorite skeins of sock yarn) and lots of cheap acrylic for stash buster-projects. Scraps also go in these baskets. And bigger WIP’s like a cardigan or sweater go into a tote I keep close to the sofa. :-)

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  43. It’s interesting to read all the different approaches. I’m mystified by the self-controlled people who only buy as much yarn as they can knit at a time! I’m neither organized nor self-controlled, and my yarn is mostly stored in project bags. Every so often I go through it and organize it in clear plastic totes by color, weight and by felting-on-purpose or washable properties. I love machine-felting but dislike hand-washing, so washabilty for things like socks is very important to me. Oh, and I forgot: I’m not organized, but I am what I call “selectively anal-retentive,” and record my projects (including needles and yarn used) both by hand in sketch books and on my Ravelry projects page.

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  44. I’m a wool-free knitter so I think that makes a bit of a difference. I sort my yarn by “fiber” (or at least the fiber of highest percentage in a yarn and where I have copious amounts of a particular fiber (say cotton) I then break it down by weight –DK/Worsted etc. I also have some other sub-categories like “sock yarn” which is rarer to find without wool so it all goes into one spot because I’d use wool-free sock yarn for very specific projects due to its makeup. I have some cone yarns which are kept separately in acrylic display boxes but the rest of the yarn is in pull-out canvas bins in my Ikea cubbies with chalk-board labels stating the fiber/weight. Like you, color is really the last consideration in my search for yarn — I’m looking for a particular weight and fiber before I get down to checking out what viable colors there are in that grouping.
    Now, when I’m shopping for yarn my favorite stores are those that separate their wool-free yarns from their wool yarns. Means I don’t end up with a reaction from grabbing a yarn I thought was safe. After that I like to shop by weight and/or fiber but probably I’d look for the weight I wanted first and then see what fibers they have in that weight. Believe you me, it’s a lot more challenging when you have to eliminate all wools and animal fibers (even down to .5% of it in a skein) so I really appreciate when LYS’s make it easy for me to shop too!

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  45. oh goodness. i just calculated how long i’ve been keeping yarn and in that many years (35+) how i’ve kept (unorganized it) it has changed too many times to count. but i believe i’ve finally found knitting nirvana. having my own room/studio for all woolly crafty things has made all the difference. i bought a vintage glass front cabinet that holds the majority of yarn, by color, looks pretty lovely this way! i want to see it! (that’s funny though, because the finished knitted items are stored behind closed closet doors) i mainly purchase project specific yarns. have fun in s.d. i was going with friends until plans changed.

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  46. This is fascinating! I love reading all the comments. I’m not sure how to describe how my stash is organized – it’s sort of by stage of life? I have three under-bed bins of yarn. The one on my husband’s side is mostly odds and ends from past projects, cheap acrylics I bought as a poor college student when I was first starting, things people have given me that I’m not so keen on – I don’t go into that bin much. The two under my side of the bed have yarns I love. One has larger quantities and yarn I bought when I lived in Japan and really started to get into this knitting thing. The other has yarns I’ve bought since moving back home to America. Writing it down, this doesn’t sound like it should work but I can always find the yarn I want.

    I also have a huge basket in the Knitting Nook (an unused corner of our living room that now has a comfy chair, a bedside table with a good light and a drawer that holds my straight needles and notions, under which is a sewing box with circular and double-pointed needles and more notions as well as the aforementioned basket). The basket has Yarn With A Destiny – yarn with patterns and plans. There’s also a big salad bowl on the dining room table that holds my sock yarn. It’s very pretty.

    I have more yarn than I know what to do with, so I’ve decided I will not bring any more yarn into my house for six months. (That didn’t stop me from buying yarn on Saturday that will live at my mom’s house – oops.) Although I have my stash on Ravelry, I don’t find it helpful for organizing purposes. I’m very tactile so I need to see the yarn, not just a picture. After I’ve knit through my stash, I’ll reorganize and perhaps gift some of the unwanted skeins.

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  47. I’m long over due for a reorganization on a grand scale. I moved my office/studio 2 years ago and it’s never fallen into place. My poor lovely stash is in a depressing state, which makes me sad. Luckily I have time in the winter to fix that and plan to asap. I’m off to hunt through my basement for a vintage chicken carrying crate just perfect for current projects!! Thanks for all the inspiration!

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  48. Such a great thread of comments! I have bins under the bed for older yarn that isn’t getting used, but I find myself needing to SEE all my recent acquisitions. They are in a wood shoe organizer with the yarn in the rectangular shoe slots. They are grouped by projects, and located near similar weights or brands, like another person mentioned, the Noros, handpainted or local, luxury yarns. I also have a bookshelf with pegs below where I hang some shawls and on the shelf above stack my cowls, and in the cubbies of the bookcase are small knitting books and skeins in between. My one question is that I read scary stories about people getting moths in their yarn, by leaving it out, has this ever happened to people? Most people have bins and only some in baskets.

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  49. By fiber/care level……I do a lot of charity knitting. Domestic = washable and international = wool. I have loads of plastic bins labeled with wool, wool blends, hand dyed, sock yarn, cotton. I use a bins to store “yarn on hand” as I’m an avid project knitter and I love to try new techniques. If I’m wondering if I have a DK or how many skeins/colors of bulky? I just check my stash on Ravelry… :o)

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  50. Sort stash? What an idea! Oi, every time I try, I end up starting ANOTHER project! I have about twelve systems, I think. First, there are a few main projects which I keep in Karen’s beautiful Bento bags because I like to pretend my life is as calm and zen and beautiful as those bags are. So wherever the bags end up, I end up simplifying the space around them so that my eyes can rest on beauty. But then of course there are the balls that live in the handmade round basket under the coffee table in the living room. Those balls are supposedly the queue for small projects. Three drawers under the window seat in the living room are filled with UFOs, tools, and a random collection of emergency wool. Two knitting bags with traveling projects. Socks in my purse. Four tall cylindrical baskets sorted by weight live upstairs in my drawing studio, along with three smaller baskets sorted by dyer which surround my knitting chair in said studio. Finally, there’s a floor to ceiling closet in the studio that my husband built for me in a long hallway that is only six inches deep but eight feet wide! (The closet, not the hallway). The closet has doors with invisible magnetic latches on it and looks like a calm white wall. Ha. My psyche is not fooled.

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  51. I built myself a wall mounted peg board to organize some of my wound up skeins of yarn. It is approximately 2′x3′ and it is hung on my wall using eye hooks and heavy duty wire. I bought a few packs of the pegs, about 2″ long and use those to hold the yarn. I painted it a nice navy blue color so a lot of the yarn color really pops when it is on display. I can’t fit my entire yarn stash on it but it definitely helps keep things neatly placed.

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  52. I always swore I’d never have a large stash and just kept my leftover bits in one box. Despite my best intentions, that one box has expanded to (more than) a few large boxes and now I’m in need of a system. Reading through the thoughts above for ideas!

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  53. Pingback: Blog Crush: Dianna Walla’s Paper Tiger | Fringe Association

  54. Pingback: Yarn Storage and a Mini Studio Tour | Jessica Joy

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